Expected Goals explained:
Football fans know that a player has a better chance of scoring with a shot from the edge of the six-yard box than a shot from 30+ yards, but on the stats sheet after a game, both are viewed equally in the ‘shots’ column. Infogol’s Expected Goals (xG) is a statistical metric which assesses every chance created during a game, assigning a likelihood of each individual chance being scored. For more details shoot over to Infogol’s Expected Goals introduction.
Burnley have made a steady start to the new campaign, and were unfortunate to only draw with Aston Villa, as according to expected goals, they deserved to win the game (xG: AST 1.20 – 1.73 BUR).
Sean Dyche’s side continue to impress in attack, averaging a steady 1.34 xGF per game this season, and are yet to lose to a team that finished outside the top six last season.
Their defensive process needs a little bit of work (1.26 xGA per game), but if they maintain this level of process, they will steer well clear of the relegation zone. More importantly, they will continue to be involved in high-scoring, entertaining football matches.
Everton put on their best attacking display of the season against champions Manchester City last weekend, but unfortunately for them their defensive display was the worst of the campaign.
Marco Silva is coming under increasing pressure as manager following three straight league defeats, with the Toffees sitting in 15th place in the league. They haven’t been as bad as results would suggest, ranking seventh in Infogol’s xG table.
They are entertaining to watch, with chances at both ends the norm for this talented yet flawed team (1.57 xGF, 1.43 xGA per game). There is no reason to think this game will be any different.
Both should create plenty of chances, but also concede them, with Infogol calculating a 57% (3/4) chance of both teams scoring. This makes the 4/5 (56%) available the value play.
Verdict: Back Both teams to score @ 4/5.
How do you stop Liverpool? Jürgen Klopp’s side made it seven wins from seven thanks to a 1-0 win over Sheffield United last weekend. Although it was a goalkeeping error that gifted them the win, they rightly collected the three points having created the better of the chances (xG: SHU 1.31 – 2.05 LIV).
The Reds are averaging 1.93 xGF and 1.22 xGA per game, and are over-performing on both fronts, scoring four more than would be expected (18 goals, 13.5 xGF) and conceding four fewer (5 goals, 8.6 xGA).
Whether this over-performance is sustainable remains to be seen, but to my eyes, Liverpool are still holding something back at this early stage. I’m expecting their underlying numbers to only get better, and eventually reach similar heights to last season (2.05 xGF, 0.90 xGA per game).
However, this is one of the toughest tests Liverpool have faced to date and ’m not expecting a dominant win.
They may even drop their first points. Leicester were tipped by Infogol, to crash the top six party this season, and they haven’t disappointed, sitting third.
They swept Newcastle aside in an accomplished and dominant performance (xG: LEI 1.74 – 0.12 NEW) – even if the 5-0 scoreline flattered them.
They’ve had their struggles in attack – but their main strength has come in defence – even after the sale of Harry Maguire.
Çağlar Söyüncü has been brought into the side and he looks every bit as good as Maguire, and the Foxes are playing with a settled backline (Pereira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell) which makes a huge difference. Leicester boast the best defensive process in the league (0.79 xGA per game).
The Foxes will not make life easy for Liverpool – especially with their stingy defence, so I’m not expecting any fireworks – just like in Leicester’s away matches against Chelsea and Manchester United.
A cagey game is forecast. Infogol calculates a 56% (4/5) chance of under 2.5 goals, so with Paddy offering 5/4 (44%), backing the unders represents a great deal of value on the Xg model.
Verdict: Back Under ‘2.5 Goals’ @ 5/4.
Even this early in the season this feels like a six-pointer. Both Norwich and Aston Villa are expected to be fighting for survival come the end of the season. Norwich have looked a different team since they beat Man City at Carrow Road, losing 2-0 to both Burnley and Crystal Palace, with defensive issues continuing to hold them back.
The Canaries are allowing an average of 1.99 xGA per game, while generating just 1.16 xGF per game. If that process continues they’ll likely be relegated – so huge improvements are needed. Aston Villa are in the same boat as Norwich – and are also ranked among the worst defensive sides in the division, allowing 1.89 xGA per game.
It can’t be understated just how big this game is for both sides so I’m expecting both teams to tighten up defensively to do their best to avoid defeat. These clashes go one of two ways: wide open with plenty of goals – or cagey, tense affairs with few goals. I’m siding with the latter.
Infogol suggests a 60% (4/6) chance of under 2.5 goals, making the 7/5 (42%) available excellent value.
Verdict: Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 7/5.
*Prices correct at time of publishing and the treble pays approx 17/2